Ford Motor Company — taking aim at Europe’s fastest-growing vehicle segment — started production today of the new Ford EcoSport small SUV at its Craiova, Romania, assembly plant.
The decision to build the new EcoSport in Europe rather than continue to import the vehicle from Ford’s plant in Chennai, India, will help Ford respond to rising customer demand.
“EcoSport is another example of how Ford is growing our business on our strengths – including world-class SUVs,” said Steven Armstrong, Ford group vice president and president, Europe Middle East and Africa. “With demand growing for EcoSport, and compact SUVs in general, now is the right time to localize production in Europe to meet our customers’ needs.”
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minister Mihai Tudose and other senior national and local officials joined nearly 4,000 Ford workers as the first of the new EcoSports rolled off the lines.
Total industry sales of SUVs in Ford’s 20 European traditional markets grew by 27 percent last year and accounted for more than one in four new passenger car registrations. Ford’s SUV sales in Europe grew more than 30 percent in 2016 and have risen by 27 percent in the first eight months of 2017.
SUV growth means more jobs, too. By year-end, Ford is creating another 1,700 jobs at Ford Craiova, bringing the total workforce for both vehicle and engine production to 3,900. Ford’s total investment in its Romanian world-class facility now exceeds €1 billion since it took over the plant in March 2008.
Craiova is the sole source of EcoSport production for Europe (excluding Russia), supplying 56 markets on four continents. This includes markets as diverse as the United Kingdom, New Caledonia in Oceania, Turkmenistan in Central Asia, and South Africa.
The Ford Craiova team also will continue to produce Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine – the only engine to win the International Engine of the Year award four years in a row.
New Ford EcoSport
The new Ford EcoSport offers enhanced versatility and capability, more refined interior and exterior styling, plus a range of new technologies such as Ford Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, which provides improved on- and off-road traction. The sophisticated new EcoSport includes for the first time Cruise Control with Adjustable Speed Limiter and a rear view camera, with SYNC 3 and floating touchscreen as standard across the range.
The redesigned cabin features easier-to-use controls and soft-touch materials, a new center console and more comfortable seats, all complemented by a new premium B&O PLAY sound system offering, specifically calibrated for EcoSport.
EcoSport is also available for the first time as a sporty, Ford Performance-inspired EcoSport ST‑Line model with 17” 5-spoke Dark Tarnish alloy wheels, bodystyling kit and contrasting coloured roof and door mirrors for even further personalisation. An advanced new 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engine delivers up to 125 PS and optimized CO2 emissions.*
The new Ford EcoSport Zetec will start from £16,845 on the road, with the new ST-Line model from £20,295, for customer deliveries in early 2018.